Congress demands white paper from Modi government on Pulwama attack
Col (retd) Rohit Chaudhry and Wing Commander (retd) Anuma Acharya, both associated with the party, posed a series of questions to the government on the attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
NEW DELHI: The Congress on Tuesday demanded that the government should come out with a white paper on the Pulwama attack providing answers to questions such as what were the intelligence failures and why troops were denied aircraft.
Days after former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satypal Malik's allegations over the 2019 Pulwama attack, the Congress held a press conference here by Col (retd) Rohit Chaudhry and Wing Commander (retd) Anuma Acharya, both associated with the party, and posed a series of questions to the government on the attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
There has been no reaction from the government since Malik's interview to a news portal was released, while the BJP has said that there were serious questions about his credibility and cited various statements made by him in recent years.
The BJP had cited Malik's past remarks, including the one that mocked former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as a political juvenile , and slammed him as the disgraced governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the party did not make any political statement over an incident like Pulwama in 2019 but had to raise this issue as concerns have been expressed by former army chief Gen (retd) Shankar Roychowdhury in an interview.
Chaudhry and Acharya, the two armed forces veterans, said the defence fraternity and the entire nation share the concerns of Malik and Gen. Roychowdhury.
They posed questions to the prime minister on the basis of the assertions by the former army chief.
Why were 2,500 CRPF soldiers not allowed to travel by air despite their request, they asked.
They also asked as to why were intelligence inputs between January 2, 2019 and February 13, 2019 warning of a terrorist attack ignored.
"How did the militants procure around 300 kg of explosives? How could this huge quantity remain undetected despite heavy security presence in South Kashmir, especially the Pulwama-Anantnag-Avantipora belt," Chaudhry said.
Four years after the attack, how far has the inquiry progressed? Why is there a delay in completing the inquiry and letting the nation know its findings? they said.
At the Congress presser, the two army veterans said that in previous terror attacks, such as the Mumbai attacks in 2011 and the Pathankot attack in 2016, inquiries were held and findings made public.
"This was essential to establish the truth, fix responsibility, and strengthen India's national security. In Pulwama too, these serious questions must be addressed," they said.
"Therefore, we demand that the government of India publish a white paper on the Pulwama attacks, describing -- how the attacks took place, what were the intelligence failures , why troops were denied aircraft, what security lapses occurred and the role of CRPF, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, National Security Advisor and the Prime Minister's Office," the veterans said.
The Congress had on Saturday demanded that the Centre reveal the outcome of the probe into the Pulwama incident and asked why the paramilitary personnel were denied aircraft and made to commute by road despite the terror attack threat.
BJP's I-T department head Amit Malviya had on Saturday tweeted an old remark of Malik, who has become a strong critic of the government in recent years, praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the best PM for Jammu and Kashmir, to hit out at his U-turn.
Meanwhile, Indian Youth Congress members held a protest here against the government over Malik's claims. IYC national president Srinivas BV said the sensational disclosure made by Malik is shocking.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should break the silence, should tell the country why did you hide the mistake of your own government," he asked.